The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning."
It's lovely. It's also in a book called Lamentations. It's not flowery sentiment; a few verses earlier the writer describes how his "teeth grind on gravel" and reflects on "the wormwood and the gall." But it resonates here at Christianity Today. The first thing we ponder is "new every morning," and what comes to mind is a compilation of the overnight religion headlines. It's always painful: a day doesn't go by without articles on church leaders philandering, embezzling, or misusing power. Recent coverage of the Catholic abuse scandal has been particularly overwhelming. Such scandal is predictable, but no less shocking. Lord have mercy.
And he does have mercy. Every morning, and every moment, the God who launched a seemingly ridiculous plan to rescue us by becoming one of us identifies with us again. He even calls the church his own body. God works through all kinds of institutions, networks, cultures, and individuals, but it's the church that is his primary agent for doing his will in the world. We see headlines on that, too. And, more frequently, we seek out those stories that never make newspaper headlines, since CT is unique in its deep commitments to robust journalism and the local church.
Those commitments are particularly on display in this issue, with Rob Moll's excerpt on how churches can build a culture of resurrection by helping congregants prepare for death ; our editorial on church responses to media scrutiny; and Jeremy Weber's report on the Buenos Aires Council of Pastors. Weber's church unity story is not the kind you will find elsewhere, all platitudes and smiles. Argentina's pastors are honest about the issues they face and how they actually make unity happen.
Ed Stetzer's cover story on denominations is similarly realistic. Stetzer speaks at more church-leader conferences than anyone we know (don't believe us? Check his Twitter feed. He's probably at one right now), and he advises everyone from the Anglicans to the Assemblies of God. But where one might expect exaggeration ("The end of denominations!" "The end of the independent congregation!"), Stetzer delves into explaining what denominations are good for. It's why we have missiologists and survey researchers, and Stetzer is both.
Speaking of surveys, ours indicate that about one of every five CT subscribers is a pastor. But nearly all (82 percent) are in a position of responsibility at church, whether leading a Bible study or running the sound board. So you know the scandal of Christ's identification with the church. And you identify with it, too, in the steadfast love of God. We love waking up to that thought, new every morning.
Next month: Russell Moore on the act of compassion—adoption—that most directly connects to our theology, James Dobson on raising girls, and Collin Hansen on what difference place makes to ministry.
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